Usefulness of the drogue

A drogue is also very valuable for slowing down the rate of drift. Anchor and drogue lines must be coiled neatly under their respective thwarts in readiness for use, and the drogue should be fitted with a trip-rope to help pull it in when it is no longer needed.

If you have ever lifted an oar to get it inboard and found that the crutch has inadvertently caught on the oar, lifted from its socket, and neatly dropped over the side into 20ft of water, you will not need to be reminded that a couple of split pins made of fence-wire slipped through the holes provided, can be invaluable to secure crutches in their sockets. These are easy to remove at the end of the day, but be sure to stow them in your bag when setting off.

Finally, you should carry a life-jacket or support of some kind against emergencies. On many waters it is mandatory to carry the boat cushions provided, and these are designed to double as life-savers. Many anglers feel it worthwhile to have their own: at least they provide the comfort one sorely needs on a hard thwart!

The cost of a boat normally demands that you should share it with a friend. Such friends must be chosen for their tact, and their capacity to sit silently in a boat, for nothing is worse than having to share a boat with a noisy idiot.

Occasionally, you meet a partner who is left-handed and provided you are right-handed the two of you can have the best of both worlds, neither having to cast across the boat. Otherwise, you should change seats at intervals so that you both get a share of the best position. Unless you are both experienced at changing seats while afloat, take the boat ashore to do so.

Do not stand up

It is surprisingly common to see anglers fishing from a standing position in a boat. This can be dangerous (and ill-mannered if you are sharing the boat). Those who are most accustomed to boats rarely, if ever, do it unless the boat is large, unlike those on most reservoirs.

Depending on conditions, there is a choice for basic methods of fly fishing from a boat. The commonest and best-known is simply to fish the drift. This is best when the wind is not too strong, and when fish are known, or believed to be, feeding on or near the surface. When fish are sought on or near the bottom it is better to fish at anchor, which enables you to pause for the fly to sink properly before retrieving. In strong wind conditions, dapping is a useful alternative, and when the water is mirror-still, it may be expedient to use the dry fly.